More than 750 scholars and guests are gathering at the University of Notre Dame for the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 18th annual interdisciplinary fall conference, “Through Every Human Heart,” November 9–11. The conference features 112 presentations that consider the perennial problem of good and evil in our world.
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Stefanie Israel de Souza, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and a dissertation year fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, has been awarded a Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. She is one of just 10 students from across the country to win the prestigious award, which supports Ph.D. candidates in their final year of dissertation completion.
The first edition of Laura Dassow Walls' new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, sold out even before the official publication date of July 12, 2017, Thoreau’s 200th birthday. And Walls has been interviewed by NPR and the BBC, along with receiving positive book reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Wall Street Journal. “Laura’s book is quite remarkable, and it’s been exciting to see it getting such a wonderful reception,” said John T. McGreevy, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “It’s certainly gotten more attention than any book of ours in recent memory.”
Working to advance the mission of the Church in service of development, peace, and disarmament, attendees will address such topics as the July 2017 United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons and the environment, and the role of Church and civil society in promoting disarmament. The speakers and panelists include Nobel Prize winners, senior diplomats, and leaders from the United Nations and NATO, as well as academic experts and religious leaders.
The University of Notre Dame’s Robinson Community Learning Center hosted a celebration Thursday, October 26, commemorating the Robinson Shakespeare Company’s summer trip to England where members had the opportunity to study the renowned playwright and his works in his place of birth.
Gretchen Reydams-Schils, a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has begun a 10-month fellowship at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as part of a multidisciplinary research project that studies expressions of the self among philosophers, lawmakers, representatives of religious traditions, and biographers in ancient Greece and Rome. The project brings together scholars of philosophy, law, literature, early Christianity, Jewish Hellenism, and Judaism to understand classical thinkers’ concept of the self and how that conception manifested itself in Jewish, Christian, and Roman culture.
Mark Sanders is pushing the geographical boundaries of the study of English literature. Through his scholarly work, he aims to expand the traditional English canon beyond the United Kingdom and United States and to broaden the corpus of black writing, particularly that of black Atlantic authors. Sanders, who joins Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall after 25 years at Emory University in Atlanta, specializes in early 20th-century American and African American literature and culture, as well as Afro-Cuban and Afro-Latino literature and culture.
University of Notre Dame alumnus John A. “Jack” Kelly and his wife, Gail E. Weiss, have made a $1 million gift to his alma mater to support initiatives within the University’s Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) and the Office of the President. Founded in 2008 and recently expanded with the addition of three new faculty members, the International Security Center is under the direction of Michael Desch, professor of political science. NDISC examines pressing international security issues facing the nation and world and conducts research that contributes to dialogue on global policy. The center supports faculty and student research projects, an endowed speaker series, an undergraduate fellows program and a seminar series featuring scholars and experts on national security.
Informally, the 175-seat LaBar Family Recital Hall inside Notre Dame’s O’Neill Hall is known as the “jewel box” because of its elegant, classic design and intimate size. But in fact, all of O’Neill Hall is a jewel box — expertly and beautifully designed as a home to the students and faculty, the artists and instruments in the University’s Department of Music and Sacred Music at Notre Dame (SMND) program. The 100,000-square-foot, seven-story building on the south side of Notre Dame Stadium was made possible by a gift to the University from Helen Schwab and her husband Charles, in honor of her brother, Notre Dame alumnus and trustee Joseph I. O’Neill III.
The Medieval Institute's new series of alumni spotlight interviews kicks off with alumna Nicole Eddy, who received her Ph.D. in 2012. Eddy has recently been hired as the new managing editor for the Medieval Library series at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.
Brad S. Gregory, the Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Notre Dame, explains how Martin Luther's 95 Theses eventually, but unintentionally, led to a world of modern capitalism, polarizing politics, and more.
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Griffin, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2008, explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history, focusing on Atlantic-wide themes and dynamics.
Barry McCrea — the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies and a professor of English, Irish language and literature, and Romance languages and literatures — has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Princeton University Humanities Council. McCrea will spend the spring 2018 semester at Princeton as a visiting professor in the Humanities Council and the Faber Fellow in Comparative Literature. While there, he will continue work on his upcoming novel, tentatively titled Thorn Island, and will teach an advanced literature course to a mix of undergraduate and graduate students.
Mark Golitko, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, worked with colleagues from the Field Museum in Chicago and institutes in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea to study the Aitape skull and the area it was found in.
“People think that if you are given a problem, that you can have a successful outcome. However, what if you were solving the wrong problem?” asked Scott Shim, professor of industrial design at the University of Notre Dame. Shim’s research is in contextual application of design thinking, examining all the components of a specific problem by conducting in-depth studies of users, environments, and circumstances. His primary method of research is “co-creation,” where end users are directly engaged in the design process. Shim will invite participants to build with Legos or re-enact certain scenarios in order to develop new ideas.
The summer after his sophomore year, Notre Dame senior J.P. Bruno was packaging maple syrup, taking care of honeybees, and tending to an orchard on a biodynamic farm in Vermont. Three weeks later, he was sitting in the White House, interning for the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as part of a semester in the Notre Dame Washington Program. These contrasting experiences provided Bruno, an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) major, with an assortment of skills that eventually led him to developing his senior thesis and receiving a job offer in economic consulting at the beginning of his senior year.
Lessons from Breaking Bad: Why being an avid fan of the groundbreaking series inspired him to study negative representations of Latinos in popular culture.
Paloma Garcia-Lopez — an educator, nonprofit leader, and manager with more than 15 years of experience — has been appointed associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) at the University of Notre Dame. In her new role, Garcia-Lopez will manage and oversee all of the activities and staff of the institute. Garcia-Lopez will focus on enhancing annual programming, special events, communications, fundraising and budgeting. She will be a central figure in the development of a strategic plan to support scholarly initiatives in Latino studies as a key component of Notre Dame’s academic mission.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 1998 Notre Dame graduate, has won a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — commonly known as a “Genius” Grant. Hannah-Jones, who majored in history and African American studies (now Africana studies), is an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine, covering issues of racial inequality, especially in education. In 2015, she produced three Peabody Award-winning radio stories for This American Life illustrating how school desegregation can lessen the achievement gap between white children and students of color, and her first-person article, “Worlds Apart: Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City,” won a 2017 National Magazine Award.
“We need to have much more proactive policies to include more women in the political process,” said Lakshmi Iyer, associate professor of economics and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Iyer’s research focuses on development economics and political economy. She is currently examining the consequences of electing women to political office in India as well as why certain minority groups there do not get into leadership positions.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame has received a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of a major research initiative on homelessness prevention. The funding will support LEO’s efforts to measure the impact of emergency financial assistance on those at risk of homelessness. By studying the aid provided by homelessness prevention call centers, which process more than 15 million calls each year, LEO’s research will allow policymakers to make more informed choices in directing limited resources to the most effective programs.
Michelle Karnes believes imagination is the key to understanding medieval meditations about the life of Christ. When readers picture themselves holding Jesus as a baby or feeding him, it evokes powerful emotions, she said. “There are good cognitive reasons why imagining yourself participating in Christ’s life helps you engage with the narrative,” she said. “It causes you to invest yourself in a more profound way.” Karnes joins the faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall as an associate professor of English, after eight years at Stanford University.
“What difference can faith make for morality when people today recognize that people of various or no faith can live a virtuous, honorable, moral life?” asked William Mattison, associate professor of theology in the College of Arts and Letters. Mattison is a Catholic moral theologian with particular interest in virtue. His latest book, The Sermon on the Mount and Moral Theology: A Virtue Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017), examines the approach to morality that Jesus presents in Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of St. Matthew and compares it to conceptions of happiness found in the works of classical philosophers such as Cicero and Aristotle.
New research from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Louisville shows that the number of men in the field has risen substantially since 1960, a marker of changing economic and social trends.
For Thomas Anderson, it’s hard not to be fascinated with Cuba. Anderson, a professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has written two books on Cuban literature and culture and has published an edited volume of a leading Cuban author’s letters. Currently, he is working on a book that focuses on images of the U.S. civil rights movement in Cuban poetry. “I think for a lot of people, Cuba has always been seen as this forbidden country, and it’s something people are drawn to,” he said. “But it’s also a country with an incredibly rich literary and cultural history.”
The retreat was sponsored by the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), an interdisciplinary group of literary scholars from across the U.S. and Europe dedicated to promoting comparative study. Co-directed by Notre Dame professor Barry McCrea and Maria DiBattista of Princeton University, the organization seeks to develop a new model for networking and scholarly collaboration in the humanities — one that stresses the importance of collaboration across generational, national, and institutional boundaries.
Nicholas J. Teh, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, along with London School of Economics colleague Bryan W. Roberts, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the nature of observables.
From the beginning, there’s an end in sight. For students in Notre Dame’s new Ph.D. in Italian and Ph.D. in Spanish programs — each of which launched in 2016 — the focus is on ensuring students complete their dissertations and earn their degrees within five years. The programs are attracting high-caliber students from around the world, helping to strengthen a flourishing community of scholars that includes students in successful master’s of arts programs already operating in each area.
In the past two years, 35 history majors in Paul Ocobock’s honors seminar have received more than $125,000 in funding to do original research around the world. And every student in his course who applied for funding received it — using the grants to explore archives in France, Ireland, Uganda, China, and South Korea, among other places. But to Ocobock, there is something even more important than his students’ 100 percent success rate in securing funding — the sense of community they develop as they plan their projects together, travel the globe to conduct research, then return to his classroom to begin work on their senior theses.
Looking through new lenses, a Ph.D. candidate and two recent alumni of Notre Dame’s Ph.D. program in history have developed innovative lines of research that are adding depth to the topics of British imperialism, comparative colonialism, and human connections to animals. All three have obtained either tenure-track faculty positions or fellowships, and two finished their degrees in five years — a lofty goal set by the department and College of Arts and Letters and incentivized through the 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.